#WIPMondays: Inbox Zero

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

This was a catch-up week for me, so I decided to skip a video chat and post my own #WIPMondays tip instead. It's only fair that I offer something up! And my thing has to do with the mental burden of overflowing email inboxes.

One task I do well and consistently is clear my inbox. In fact, the very first thing I do every morning (after I let the dog out and make myself a cup of tea, so, really, the third thing I do) is achieve Inbox Zero. This means I go through my email inbox until it's empty. It doesn't mean I do everything required by the emails, it just means I go through my process of categorizing and prioritizing them—triage. When I'm done, planning my day is easy and I've already had one win for the day (some days it's my only win).

I put the basics of my personal Inbox Zero method in an Instagram post (see below!), but I have to point out that when I first embarked on my Inbox Zero quest, it took me weeks (maybe a couple of months?) to get my backlog cleared.* Knowing that most people would face the same situation I had, I recommend taking incremental steps until you finally reach that beautiful, glorious empty box. If you're just getting started, my tip is to set up a system of email triage using Labels (for Gmail) or Flags (for Apple Mail) or whatever categorization option your email platform uses.

My #WIPMondays tip:

My Inbox Zero approach is summarized in the Instagram slideshow below.

What I'm reading:

I'm still listening to Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell, and reading the print version of Laura Lippman's Sunburn. But over the weekend, I broke out my Kindle and started Claire Matturro's The Smuggler's Daughter. I'm enjoying the fast pace and the fact I have no idea who killed all these people! I promised myself I won't start a new book until I'm done with at least one of the three I have going right now. I doubt it will take my very long :)

*Extra tip if you have months (years?) of emails backlogged in your inbox: Once you've gone through the most recent few weeks, take all of the backlog and deposit them into a "Backlog" folder. These old emails are probably not that important and, at best, simply need to be retained for future reference. You can still take time every week to "clear" batches of emails in the Backlog folder if you like, but those emails will no longer carry the psychic weight of lurking in your inbox.

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